Monday, March 26, 2007

Advanced Protective Footwear Technology in 2007

Don't overlook feet in the workplace ...

"With new footwear technologies entering the market every year, it’s important for customers to know what’s important in boot construction – to decipher which features and technologies will get the job done safely.

Every year, safety footwear manufacturers find new ways to make protective footwear more comfortable and lighter to combat foot fatigue and improve working conditions.There are a few different generations in the workplace today. We have workers who believe a solid work boot needs to feel heavy to be durable. Younger workers, though, have become used to lightweight athletic shoes and footwear, and they expect the same comfort out of their safety footwear.

The good news is that protective footwear can come in all shapes and sizes and still maintain its durability, as long as it’s built with quality materials and innovative technology.

A boot should be selected for performance, stability and comfort. The following is an overview of traditional and newer technology categories that are important in safety footwear today:

• Quality Materials and construction offering long-lasting support.
• Technology Features that can make the difference in serving a function, such as slip resistance, yet are comfortable.
• Platform The insole, mid-sole and, very importantly, outsole, which can be developed specifically for the application in which the customer is working.
• Comfort Specific attention is being paid to comfort, with new technology that focuses on reduction of foot fatigue and support for the arch, forefoot and heel.

Shoe and Boot Construction
Shoe and boot construction comes in several forms, among them stitch-down construction, the Goodyear welt and cement-down construction.

• Stitch-down construction Stitch-down provides a durable platform with a more traditional fit and feel. The boot is secured between the leather insole and midsole, and then the outer leather layer vamp is turned out and stitched to the edge of the sole.
• Goodyear welt There are a number of ways that an outsole can be attached, one of which is through a Goodyear welt. This construction is different from most others by which the welt and upper are secured to the insole by a strong stitch. The construction increases durability and foot stability.
• Cement-down For shoes featuring an athletic, lightweight fit, a boot can be attached through a cement-down construction. The boot will have a more cupping fit as opposed to a stitch-down or welt-type attachment."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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